And the winner is…..
March 1, 2010

After much deliberation, this Orla Kiely wallet is the winner....

As you know, my wallet disappeared  last week, never to reappear. But as I told you, I got a call that night from a woman who said she had found my driver’s license, some credit cards, and business cards on the ground. We met at an appointed place Saturday and I got them back…most were useless of course, having been canceled, but to get my license back was HUGE! I thanked her profusely, and gave her a cash reward(appropriate, oui?)…and I was on my way.

Really liked this one....would make a great evening bag!

I started perusing wallets on-line this weekend, looking for one that could be everything I asked it to be: 1. large enough to contain all the stuff I put in it 2. durable 3.  attractive and 4. one new requirement …it also could fit my cell phone, so that I could  use it as a clutch purse on occasion. A lot to ask, yes?

Double Dutch to the rescue!!!

But as I started looking, my daughter called and told me to check out a shop called Double Dutch  in Hampden. I know the place, I pass it all the time and have shopped there before…and I like to keep it local if I can. Double Dutch has loads of cute clothing and accessories. But evidently this February, they got in the mother lode of  wallets, of every size, color and description….shiny, metallic, leather, plastic, with grommets and studs and without….some great looking choices, really. 

Oh Orla...you really get it....

In the end, I picked one by Orla Kiely….not the least expensive model there(it’s in the top picture), but it was on sale, super chic and I know it will be extra durable. The owner said she carried one for years, and when the zipper broke, they replaced it for free…..love it. And Kiely makes some smart looking bags and clothing…the line is based in London. Plus I can get my cell phone inside, zipped up with looking like a snake that ate a hardboiled egg. Mission accomplished.

Top Ten Cool Gift Ideas: Part I
December 8, 2008

I recently got this email from my son in New York…”Hello queen of cool gifts…. Have you seen this little toy?

The Netflix Player by Roku: http://www.roku.com/netflixplayer/?utm_source=nflx&utm_medium=nrd&utm_campaign=v2

My reply: “Not only have I seen it, I blogged it about 6 or 8 months ago.” Good try though. I have somehow gotten the reputation in family as the finder of cool and unusual gifts.

Last years find....but still cool...

Last year's find....but still cool...

I think it all began with the Lego Ipod docks I found last year before they were everywhere. And maybe the enchanting Tea Forte creamer and suger set…it is sooooo sweet, even though my creamer is broken-sniff. Oh, and I found a place where you can try out squash rackets, kind of like Netflix, only you’re getting squash rackets in the mail, at Squashgear.com.

OK, ready for the list..part one? Here we go!

1. For my hair stylist whose husband is always losing her tools…and she’s handy…a pretty tool set by the V & A(Victoria and Albert Museum…found it on sale(a little bit) at Zanadia. Clever, and a limited edition item…get it quick. Zanadia, btw, has lots of cute gift ideas and free shipping over $55. I love free shipping.

 

Great market bag....

Great market bag....

2. If you want to go green this year(or want your family members to, like I do)…think about giving reuseable bags…it is very chic these days. At resueablebags.com you will find a dizzying array of bags at all price ranges. I really like the one in the picture…it’s very popular in Europe, and it collapses for storage, as well as having a zipper pouch for your keys and wallet. I sent a few “more basic” less expensive bags to my younger sis in ‘bama, for her birthday this week…she called me and said in her southern accent,” I just went to Walmart and used my bags….I felt so green!!” It’s a start….it’s a start. Can recycling be far behind? UPDATE: FLAT $4.95 SHIPPING, AND ENTER CODE FRIEND10 TO GET 10% OFF!! (ends the 15th) 

Yummo-crab cake sliders!

Yummo-crab cake sliders!

3.For the foodie on your list, how about some cute little crab cake sliders, from Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes? A new, Maryland twist on the popular slider hamburger that you can send mail order. This is a great website if you want to send some Maryland style food to your family in California, or even Alabama, or Hagerstown! Who wouldn’t like getting some crabcakes delivered…and the company is right here in Maryland…they even have a stand in the Annapolis market.(Their cream of crab soup is sooooo decadent.)update: Just got an email that their standard shipping for $75 or more is $10.95…enter code CB10 at checkout-expires 12/12!

 

A space age airmail wallet??

A space age airmail wallet??

 

3. A website called CuffArt.com has just tons of cool, really different gift ideas(including an amazing variety of cufflinks, like some made from certified Memorial Stadium seat wood or the 8-ball ones below), for all wallets. And speaking of wallets, Cuffart has them made from a micro fiber material called Tyvek….lighter than water, yet incredibly strong.

8-ball cufflinks...$22.50-fun!

8-ball cufflinks...$22.50-fun!

It expands and contracts depending how much(or how little these days) you put in it. $18.50(what’s not to like)….and they also come in other patterns like 3-ring binder paper, graffiti, and comic book. I might get one for myself. Pretty cool. And 25% off right now.

Need to do some window shopping??

Need to do some window shopping??

Oh, and if you want to spend more, Cuffart also has actual windows from a Pan Am Boeing 707….seriously. Sure, it’s $1500, but how many other people will have one?

Time for a change watches.....

Time for a change watches.....

4. If you’re looking for something unusual, like the blingy, Obama “Time for a change” watch above…visit the American Visionary Art Museum , like I did yesterday…the place was packed.

Remember these? $2.50 sticking stuffer...

Remember these? $2.50 sticking stuffer...

Ohmigoodness, such fun, offbeat things at their Sideshow Gift Shop
from fun little stocking suffers, to actual artwork! And they told me they have sold over a thousand of the Obama watches . Not everyone will want to wear their vote on their wrist, but for those of you so inclined…they have all sorts of them….and here’s the best part. They’re $12.

I said, Baby Girl!!

I said, "Baby Girl!!"

5. Some people say don’t get a pet for Christmas, but if my sweet daughter had not insisted we get a rescue cat last December, we would not have Baby Girl(about whom many, many songs have been written) providing much furry love in our house. Baby came from Charles County Humane Society, but the S.P.C.A. also has so many dogs and cats who need a good home. (Baby just jumped up by me…to provide her support for this idea). Obviously, you need to choose wisely, and make sure someone wants a pet, and can provide proper care, but don’t go buying an animal, when there are so many that need homes, at shelters. And if you don’t need a pet, think about giving a donation to the S.P.C.A. in someone’s name…now, that’s a great gift, especially for the person who already has everything. And they need your help. Baby has been such a blessing. Love that cat!

Wow…that’s enough for today….the rest of my list tomorrow!! I have much, much more….